(Note: This review will contain spoilers for Secret Invasion #8.) It’s almost hard to believe that Secret Invasion is over. If Marvel have proven anything with this series, it’s that event books need to be shorter.
Secret Invasion has had many ups and downs over its 8-issue tenure. Issue #1 was a near-perfect run out of the gate, while subsequent issues ground to a practical standstill trying to weave in the necessary plot beats without spoiling the events of other titles. Even so, by wrapping up the plot threads, and focussing on character interaction, this issue does stand as one of the better ones. I can only speculate that Bendis apparently knows how to begin and end a series, but that he needs to work on pacing the middle a bit.
The death of the Wasp feels almost embarrassingly tacked-on with little logic behind it. Sure, it was foreshadowed, but let us not mistake planning for motivation. Why Wasp? And why in that way? No satisfying answer seems available. Similarly, the REAL return of Mockingbird, previously mooted then withdrawn earlier this series, feels just as odd, and appears to openly violate continuity from Busiek’s Avengers run that, truth be told, deserves to remain intact.
The set-up for Dark Reign – Norman Osborn replacing SHIELD and running The Initiative – is at least a compelling coda to the Invasion, promising some interesting stories where, one imagines, every doubt raised about the Initiative will be addressed in the most horrifying way possible. One thing that slightly grates is the presence of Emma Frost at Osborn’s villain pow-wow. Frost hasn’t been a villain in years, and works far better in her current incarnation, so let’s hope this merely signals her willingness to engage with the the winning side, rather than a return to actual villainy.
Despite massively enjoying the lead-up to Secret Invasion, it was ultimately a disappointing series, undoubtedly inferior to Civil War. Instead of character philosophies and personality clashes, we had relentless, formless attack by a largely faceless group of uninteresting Skrulls whose motivation and background was largely confined to tie-in books. Only the set-up for Dark Reign – which really plays more off the themes and ideas of Civil War – redeems the series at all.